After hanging out around Toronto for a few days with JMD and the four Ms. L's, including young Miss Delaney, I have decided that although I'm still mostly terrified of babies, the exposure conditioning has reduced my fear levels a bit.
In the past, I have explained my fear with an analogy: when somebody asks me, "Do you want to hold the baby?" my immediate and visceral reaction is about the same as if a concert violinist were to ask me, "Hey, I just got this Guarneri del Gesù
--do you want to hold it?" (Response: "Gwwaaaagghaaaaaah! Um. No thank you.") Well, a qualification on that--if I can be useful by holding onto a baby while mom deals with stuff, I'm glad to be helpful. But the joy-and-pleasure centers of my brain do not fire off madly at the prospect of holding a baby.
One reason my fears were reduced is that Delaney is a wonderfully well-behaved young lady--no squalling fits, no projectile vomiting, and spitup and drooling were well within reasonable limits for her age group (insert comment about Tep alumni here).
When first meeting her, I found it a bit disturbing that she kept staring at me with this intense but puzzled look for minutes on end. My best guess was that the baby brain was being thrown by my facial hair: "How odd... it's in the right spot for a face, and it makes sounds like a face, but, it just somehow looks different...."
As entertaining as my sense of humor might be for my friends, most of it doesn't really play for the under-two crowd. I can do a couple minutes of knee bouncing, flying around, and rhythmic clapping plus singing show tunes ("I got rhythm. I got music..."). But pretty soon, I'm at the stage of "I got nothin'"--usually followed up by "Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen! We're here every Thursday--please enjoy your formula, and have a lovely evening! And nowww, back to your mom!"
While holding her, Delaney had a fascination with my Brass Rat--maybe because it's just like dad's ring. Then again, it could just be the normal baby reaction of, "Shiny! How does it taste? [chew] [drool]" (she had the same reaction to my wristwatch). But I also let her know: "...and if you're really unfortunate, you can end up going to MIT and getting one too!"
Oh, and despite the fact that I could deal with brief baby exposure, I still feel strongly that parenting is not a gig I'd ever be looking for
. Heh: the lack of a uterus and matching hormones: reason #722 why I prefer being a guy. Yes, I know that the picture is cute and that my mom's subconscious grandmother sensors are probably twitching from 400 miles away. But count me out of this propagation of the human race thing, thanks.